I know that there is a lot of uncertainty at the minute, and that it’s worrying not knowing if your treatment may be impacted and coping with restrictions on what you can do in terms of support and distractions.
I know it’s causing people worry about what it will mean financially and in terms of your chances of conceiving.
And I completely understand the emotional impact all of this is having.
It's ok to feel sad, angry, cheated and helpless about the situation. It’s understandable and normal, it makes us feel out of control and it just doesn’t seem fair that there is something else affecting our chances of having a baby.
It can be like grieving – for your IVF cycle, for your chances of conceiving this month, for your fertility…….
Coping with the Uncertainty
I wanted to share some things you can do to help with the feelings of anxiousness that uncertainty brings, to help you cope and feel calmer:
Breathe - When you are feeling anxious, just taking time out to focus on your breathing can be a quick and effective way to calm your nerves. Take slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe in for the count of 4, and out for the count of 8. This basic technique relaxes your body and can calm you mentally.
Use your support network – seek support from those in support groups, message or call your friends if you can’t see them, if you are really struggling there are counsellors and coaches that can do skype sessions with you, so that you can still get support whilst in your own home. You can join my free support group on the link below.
Make a list of the things that are good in your life, the things you are grateful for and the things you have achieved - Although it may feel like infertility has taken over your life, it doesn’t define you or your achievements in life. You are a unique and amazing person, and it is important to remember who you are and everything you have achieved when you are having a bad day.
Make a list of all the things you can do while you are waiting to start treatment (some for while we are in lockdown, and others for when we are allowed out and about). It will help you feel more positive about all the things you can do, and you can start to plan them in.
In these uncertain times, I want to help you focus on some of the positives and help you take back control of the things you can do:
Now we are back in lockdown, there are lots of things you can use the time for, and below are some tips and advice on taking control in this tricky time:
Keep to some sort of schedule so you have a plan for the day. I always feel better when I’ve got up, showered and dressed, and sitting in your PJs can often make us feel a bit down – so get up and get ready as you would if going to work, set times for doing different things (work time, lunch, have a walk, read, meditate) and ensure you make time for self care.
Rest! We are all so busy all of the time, this virus and the enforced lockdowns/ social distancing has forced us all to slow down and rest more, so take the opportunity to recharge your batteries, reduce stresses where possible (I know this situation brings new ones too) and slow down.
Spend time doing the things that help you relax and recharge your batteries As you can’t really go out at the minute you can do things like reading, meditating, watching Netflix, and when we can go out freely you can organise things with friends/family that you love to do and make you feel good.
Get some time out in the fresh air where you can - walks in nice open spaces where you can get fresh air and some exercise. You can appreciate your surroundings, get some space to clear your head and it gets you out of the house for a bit.
Spend time as a couple away from treatment to recapture the romance and emotions. The pressures of work, social commitments and treatment can put a lot of pressure on relationships and mean you don’t have much quality time together. See this as a gift of quality time together to have nice meals at the table, film night, games night, talking to each other. I understand it can also feel a bit overwhelming when you are locked down and having ALL your time together, so keep in touch with friends, plan in solo time for things like reading, walks, exercise and its ok if you get frustrated with each other, we’ll all be the same :)
Think about how you can help others - At times like this we need to support each other, that could be emotionally supporting others through this time, offering to do shopping for an elderly neighbour or helping out in your community however you can. It will give you another focus and make you feel good for helping out,
Think about other things you would like to do and achieve - as you are locked in your house, it’s a perfect time to start a new hobby, learn something new, make changes that you’ve been thinking of making. Make a list of some things you have wanted to do for a while but always feel like you don’t have time to do:
Use the time to make sure you are in your optimum state for conceiving – it’s really hard if you are worried that there could be a delay to your treatment, it can feel like time is slipping away, so try to think of this time as extra time to get make sure you ready for treatment by looking after your physical health (eating healthily, getting enough rest, drinking enough water) and your emotional health (getting enough support, taking time for self-care, recharging your batteries).
Start a journal – Journaling has been found to improve your emotional and physical health, by reducing stress, boosting your mood and improving memory function. Writing down your feelings is a great way of releasing those emotions in a safe way, whilst also giving you some calm time for yourself, especially if you are isolated from your usual support network.
If you would like more help and support through this worrying and uncertain time, my IVF Positivity Planner can help you focus on looking after yourself emotionally, setting goals to make changes and it gives you lots of advice and support on coping when TTC.
If you would like to buy a copy of my IVF Positivity Planner to help you feel happier and stronger through treatment, you buy it on the link below, I can definitely get a copy out to you safely.
And as always, I’m always here if you need support, please message me and you’re welcome to join my free support group. Take care and stay safe xx
This article covers lots of feedback I have heard from patients, in the hope that it will help doctors and nurses understand how patients really feel, and also help everyone that is going through IVF know they are not alone.